CANTON, OH (WOIO) - A Canton police officer who grew up not having a good relationship with police is working hard to connect with kids all over the city.
Officer Lamar Sharpe recently dropped by someone else's birthday celebration before taking time to celebrate his own.
Darmyia, 4, was having a party surrounded by family and friends -- including Sharpe. Little Darmyia had a great time hanging out, and it's clear she and Sharpe are best pals.
"Officer Sharpe always does nice things for the kids in the community, especially Darmyia," said the girl's mother. "He loves Darmyia and Darmyia loves Officer Sharpe."
"We were raised it's better to give than receive," he said.
Instead of running from him, the kids in his old neighborhood rush to greet him. He's like an everyday Santa, building good relationships with the kids, helping to make sure they're not naughty, but nice.
"It's not always fun and games, because I hold them accountable. I hold these kids accountable. If you look around, you won't see any trash around," he said. "When I first started giving candy, there were wrappers everywhere. I teach them to take care of their community. This is where you live."
They showed him love by giving him some cupcakes for his birthday.
Sharpe has been giving back to Canton for years, and you can learn more about him on his Facebook page.